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World’s First 3D Printed Steel Bridge to Serve Pedestrians in Amsterdam

When it is completed in the next few months, a 12-meter stainless steel bridge will become the largest 3D-printed metal structure in the world. And it will not be just for show, as 3D-printed objects usually are, but it will serve a real-life need.
3D-printed bridge to be installed in Amsterdam 1 photo
According to Imperial College London, the structure is to be set over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in Amsterdam to help pedestrians and cyclists get over the water. Aside from that, the bridge would also act as a test bed for future similar construction projects.

Currently, only a third of the bridge has been completed in a laboratory in the Netherlands, but the two teams from The Alan Turing Institute and MX3D working on the project plan to have it ready by the end of the year.

Since this is the first construction of this kind, further insight into how it will perform is needed, so when completed and installed, the bridge will be fitted with a myriad of sensors. They would register data relevant to future building projects using a 3D printer. 

The data to be studied includes strain, displacement, and vibration, but the sensors would also allow for real-time monitoring of the bridge’s health. All the acquired information would be fed into a digital copy of the bridge which will act as a prototype for future reference.

Whatever the findings of the team would be, data would be made available to all parties interested in developing similar structures.

“The 3D printed bridge being installed by the MX3D team next year will be a world first in engineering,” said according to the source Mark Girolami, Chair in Statistics in the Department of Mathematics at Imperial College London.

“It is a powerful embodiment of what data-centric engineering can deliver as a discipline, and I look forward to seeing the bridge in action from summer next year.”


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